America are hot right now, with “countries
like Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and
Colombia high on the request list.”
“Europe as a whole has been very hot,”
says Mark Herbert of Incentive Solutions.
“The value of the euro has also helped since
it is down versus the dollar.” Brightspot's
May agrees, noting that the exchange rate
and VAT refunds, along with what he calls
“podium power cachet” of “major European
cities such as London, Paris, Rome, and Bar-
celona,” are bringing them back to favor with
U.S. groups. All of Italy is extremely popular,
Murray says, noting that the north and south
both have “charming cities, stunning waters,
and beautiful people.”
England, Scotland, and Ireland remain
favorites with American groups, as does Swit-
zerland, while the Scandinavian countries are
getting more interest. And, of course, both
Croatia and Iceland are red-hot.
Greece is “returning to favor,” Murray
says, adding, “Monte Carlo, on the French
Riviera, is always popular and [can be]
topped off with a side trip to Cannes or Eze
for culture, perfume, and food.”
Combining buzz, value, and all the
options incentive planners look for, Portu-
gal and its capital city, Lisbon, were men-
tioned by more planners interviewed than
any other destination.
While travel time and cost are cutting into
long-haul destinations, “Africa continues to
be a bucket-list star,” Kern and Hester say.
“Once they arrive, the distance is well worth
it. Guests can explore charming Cape Town,
go on safari in the Kruger National Park, and
marvel at Victoria Falls.”
More exotic sites such as Dubai, Bora
Bora in French Polynesia, Thailand’s Phuket,
Bali in Indonesia, “and similar destinations
are very popular,” says EGR’s Thompson.
“They will always be bucket-list destinations.”
Vietnam is “exotic, has interesting history, and breathtaking beauty. It’s also less
expensive than bigger neighboring cities
in China,” says Murray. Other top countries include Japan, Thailand, and South
Korea, as well as Australia and especially
New Zealand. Questions or comments?
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